By Daniel Lynch and Jamie O’Brien
A growing desire for developing collaboration opportunities between those animating mission and Catholic identity-related areas has last month culminated in a Networking Seminar.
The inaugural Networking event was held on Tuesday 6 February at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle campus, and attended by more than 60 representatives from some 40 Catholic agencies and organisations across the Archdiocese, and the Perth Catholic community.
The aim of the event was to plan a way forward to create a network that enables the sharing of resources, understanding of common issues and challenges, while also encouraging all organisations to work closely together.
Representatives in attendance were given the opportunity to listen to several guest speakers working in mission and Catholic identity-related roles in order to gain an insight into the breadth and depth of their work.
Those sharing their experience within this field included Vicky Burrows from Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Dr Marco Ceccarelli from the Centre for Faith Enrichment, Anita Finneran from Caritas Australia, Carol Mitchell from the Justice, Ecology and Development Office, Derek Boylen from Catholic Marriage and Fertility Services and Daniel Lynch from Newman College.
Speaking to The Record, Working Party member Professor Keith McNaught who is the Regional Director of Mission Integration WA, St John of God Health Care, explained that the initiative for the Networking event was first developed in September 2017 when a small Working Party representing education, healthcare, the Archdiocese and the University of Notre Dame was formed to plan an inaugural mission networking event, focussing on the governance issue of mission and identity for Catholic groups/organisations and not as a faith formation group.
“This initial working party comprised representatives across the Catholic health care community, including Archdiocese of Perth Vicar for Social Outreach and Chief Operations Officer, Dr Terry Wilson, Director of Mission Integration, St John of God Health Care, Martin Loney, UNDA Division of Admissions & Student Services Manager, Liz Beale, and Newman College Deputy Principal Daniel Lynch and myself,” Professor McNaught said.
Professor McNaught continued by saying that the final number in attendance far exceeded the expectations of the Working Party, thus signalling a motivating enthusiasm for this identified need in our Archdiocese.
“From this inaugural Networking event, we can now understand and respond to the various needs in ways that perhaps we had not previously looked at,” he said.
Speaking on the day of the event, UNDA Head of Campus and Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Selma Alliex, welcomed the group and noted that the University was delighted to host the inaugural Networking seminar.
“It is imperative that we align together to live out our mission and work on our common issues to demonstrate our faith,” Professor Alliex said.
“We look forward to sharing resources and future formation opportunities with like-minded organisations,” she said.
At the conclusion of the event, those gathered had the opportunity to reflect and provide their suggestions on possibilities for future gatherings to support the direction these networking opportunities may take.
“As the desire across our Archdiocese continues to grow for intentional spaces to connect, collaborate and share resources across our Catholic agencies, the working party look forward to updating the key stakeholders across our Archdiocese of upcoming opportunities that are shaped by the feedback that has been received,” Mr McNaught said.